From Trafficking to Financial Freedom: Robin Rivera’s Story
"[People] just have this burning desire to give more, to create something great. And they just don't know how."
Robin Rivera, CEO of Robin Rivera Global, puts this belief at the core of what she does each day. And she's right; we can't go through the motions of life without a dream. So many people know they contain enough colour and vigour in them to paint the whole world. And yet, many of us are still trying to figure out a way to do so.
Rivera uses Robin Rivera Global to leave her own mark on the world. Through her company, she offers training for spiritual healers and coaches to facilitate their clients' transformation. What's unique about Robin Rivera Global is that Rivera focuses her training on shamanic foundations, seeing as she herself is well-versed in the realm of Mexican folk medicine.
Growing Up Without Privilege
Rivera's focus on the spiritual aspect and shamanic perspectives is derived from her own story growing up.
Life wasn't smooth-sailing for her, to say the least. She grew up in an environment where her family experienced extreme child abuse for generations. Even though her parents held good intentions in bringing her up, Rivera still grew up recognizing the taste of violence.
"I grew up feeling very alone, and very scared. At five years old, I had decided that all I had was myself," Rivera said in an interview.
At the age of eleven, she became acquainted with drug and alcohol abuse. She suffered from suicidal tendencies merely two years later. Child Protective Services stepped in when they found bruises on her body at school, and Rivera went through a series of entering and leaving the system. Throughout this time, Rivera faced more abuse to add to her childhood trauma.
Her parents eventually decided that their daughter needed help. They sent her to a boarding school in Mexico, where she was on what was termed 'strict lockdown' for a little over a year.
"It was very challenging and extreme; it got shut down for child abuse after I left. [The experience provided] a very extreme behavior modification, but it made me strong in my mind," Robin recounted.
Escaping the Ordeal of Trafficking
Rivera was forced to mature too soon. When she left the institution, her survival skills had developed remarkably. But as it is with many childhood trauma survivors, she struggled with other developmental skills necessary for maturing gracefully into adulthood. She eventually got involved in exotic dancing and dabbled in the escort business for about a year.
One harrowing experience that marked a turn in Rivera's life was when she had a run-in with a human trafficker. She was involved in it for a few weeks when the sirens began to go off in her head.
"I didn't know what was going on, but I knew I was very confused and that these were dangerous people."
She did the only thing she could do at the time: she ran. She abandoned everything she had and found help in the form of her ex-boyfriend at the tender age of 23. When she had to leave him to return home to her parents, she found out later on that she was pregnant.
A Change in the Tide is Possible
It was her pregnancy that made Rivera snap to attention. She realized what kind of mother she needed to be – she wanted to give her innocent child a good life. She had just attended a party where drugs were involved a week before. But there she was, looking at a pregnancy strip and discovering the life-changing results.
"There was no reason for me to think that this was going to be okay," Rivera said. "But for some reason, this incredible, divine peace washed over me. I just knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was meant to do this."
With the support of her friends, Rivera decided to pursue a proper education. She studied with world-renowned Mexican medicine women to develop her current skill set, and further obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and a master's in consciousness and transformative studies from John F. Kennedy University. She also gave back to the community by volunteering with an anti-human trafficking coalition.
For Rivera, her help came in the form of a therapist she got in contact with through UC Berkeley. This therapist happened to be a shamanic depth hypnosis practitioner. She was the first person to tell Rivera a simple fact: she wasn't broken. Instead, she was spiritually gifted.
These words shook Rivera to her core. She began to delve into plenty of research. She looked up shamanic sicknesses and holistic perspectives on mental health. The rest is history: she started her business, and now focuses on helping other spiritual coaches to reach their own clients.
Changing the World, One Person at a Time
"I want it to be understood that I love business," Rivera affirmed. "I love money and abundance because it's so healing coming from where I come from. I respect it so much; it allows me so many possibilities. But the core of what I do is this: I'm trying to create beauty out of my suffering."
And perhaps, that's what we can all do. We need to reach out; we need to see people in their suffering, to meet their needs. And when we face our own pit of despair, we must realize that we are, in no way, less deserving of hope and redemption than anybody else.
For those of us who struggle, perhaps one day, we too, will find a way to move forward.